The HRD Ministry has refused to appoint IIM Bangalore’s next chairman from the names suggested by the Institute. The search-cum-selection committee (ScSc) of IIM Bangalore, headed by co-founder of Sabre Partners, Rajiv Maliwal, had suggested the name of Vinita Bali, former managing director of Britannia businesses, renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty and Vikram Kirloskar, non-executive manager on the board of Kirloskar Brothers, for the post of chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG).
IIM Bangalore director G Raghuram verified the government has sought a fresh panel of finalists. When asked if the authorities had given any explanations for finding all 3 candidates unsuitable for the job, ” he said, “No”.
When contacted, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told The Sunday Express that he did not specifically recall what has happened in case of the appointment of IIM Bangalore’s chairperson, but added that the government is working quickly towards drafting the rules below the IIM Act within the next 50 days.
Although the ministry, technically, can take down the institute’s proposal, this is just the second time it’s occurred. The first example was nearly two years back when Javadekar’s predecessor, Smriti Irani, did not reconstruct IIM Ahmedabad’s chairman in the three candidates forwarded by the institute — then chairman of the Board of Directors of Infosys R Seshasayee, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and CMD of Hero MotoCorp Pawan Munjal. IIM Bangalore has been with no fulltime chairman ever because Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman of Biocon Limited, completed her term this past year.
The Ministry’s rejection is significant since it comes at a time when another institute, IIM Kozhikode, seems to be resisting the government’s attempt to recreate its own chairman. According to sources from IIM Kozhikode, a part of institute’s BoG has written to the ministry requesting that the Board be allowed to take responsibility for the chairman appointment, particularly after the IIM Bill has been passed by Parliament in the winter session.
The institute’s ScSc had filed its recommendations for the post before the passing of this Bill.
Unlike other densely run associations, IIMs, under the new Act, are permitted to appoint their own directors and BoG chairmen. The degree of autonomy to be awarded to the maximal B-schools below the IIM Act has been the source of some friction between the Prime Minister’s Office along with the HRD ministry beneath Irani’s leadership in 2016.
As per the government telling, the legislation comes into effect from January 31. However, the Act also states that until the rules and regulations are finalised, the present bye-laws of each institute “will continue to apply”. In other words, if the ministry wants, it may still appoint chairmen and directors of IIMs where the posts are empty.
It’s not clear whether the government will heed the request of the BOG member of IIM Kozhikode or go ahead with the consultation. IIM Bangalore and Kozhikode are the only ones without a chairman.